Companies Broaden Market With Podcasts

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CHICAGO -- Top U.S. brands discussed expanding into podcasting and RSS to increase the reach of their products at ad:tech Chicago.

Representatives from Henkel Consumer Adhesives Inc., Nestle Purina PetCare Co. and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. spoke about the advantages and challenges in bringing their products into podcasts.

"Podcasts have a way of capturing the personality of the brand," said Heather Sefcik, advertising and public relations manager for Henkel Consumer Adhesives, Avon, OH.

In 2005, Henkel became the No. 1 search result for duct tape on Google and Yahoo after starting podcasts through its Web site.

Ms. Sefcik said podcasting lets people become engaged with the product, as it illustrates different values and shows the brand's personality.

Henkel expanded its duct tape to a tech-savvy audience through seasonal campaigns and offered new ways to use duct tape creatively through the podcasts. The podcasts drew 52 million media impressions for Henkel in 2005, and the company continues to use them.

Purina also incorporated podcasts into its marketing strategy.

"Pet owners are a very information-seeking audience," said Michael Moore, director of interactive marketing for Nestle Purina Petcare Co., St. Louis. "So in response, we have become mobile through SMS and RSS feeds."

Purina offers audio and visual podcasts as well as pet-sound ring tones and wallpapers available through iTunes.

"Our goal is to repurpose our existing assets," Mr. Moore said.

The advantages to using podcasting are greater synchronicity with the brand, faster speed to market and a larger availability to the teen market, where 55 percent of teens are believed to have an MP3 player, he said.

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (www.jnj.com) sponsored a teenage Web talk show, "Heather and Jonelle," to expand into the podcasts. The show featured two high school students from Long Island, NY, and each 15-minute show consisted of six to eight segments.

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care used banner ads, other podcasts, word of mouth, iTunes and e-mail to promote the show. The company had a plug at the end of every podcast. Johnson & Johnson's operating companies embraced the emerging media.

"We learned that combining subtle branding with authentic teen voices can result in an equity lift," said Robert Claypoole Jr., product director, relationship marketing at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.

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